Does CBD get you high?

Discover how CBD works in the body and whether it causes intoxicating effects.
Does CBD get you high?
minute read

Medically Reviewed byDr. Caley Scott, ND

CBD is everywhere, and for a good reason. People are turning to this wellness supplement to address any number of issues, and in under five years, CBD has become a part of 26% of Americans’ routines.

CBD’s popularity happened quickly, to say the least. And for those who aren’t so familiar with how CBD works, it can seem intimidating. What most people do know is that CBD is associated with hemp and cannabis plants, which brings about the common question: does CBD get you high? 

The short answer is no, but let’s take a deep dive into why CBD doesn’t give you a high—so you can feel more confident about incorporating this wellness product into your lifestyle.

What are the basics of CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. 

CBD is federally legal when it comes from hemp plants (AKA cannabis plants, specifically Cannabis sativa plants, containing less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight).

Does CBD get you high?

CBD is technically non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t bring about the intoxicating “high” that THC produces. Instead, those who use CBD often experience feelings of relaxation, tranquility, or calmness, in addition to other health benefits. This experience is thought to be more common for first-time cannabis users. 

How do cannabinoids work in the body?

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are found abundantly in cannabis plants, but how do they actually work in the body? 

The truth is that our bodies are already wired to interact with cannabinoids like CBD and THC, thanks to the cannabinoid receptors in our own endocannabinoid systems. Our bodies also naturally produce its own indigenous cannabinoids—called endocannabinoids. These guys are another big player in endocannabinoid system function.

These self-produced endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, primarily found in our nervous system, organs, and the brain. These endocannabinoids latch to your CB1 and CB2 receptors, which in turn helps support your endocannabinoid system in maintaining proper homeostasis before being broken down by enzymes. 

What does the ECS do?

Here are just a few of the bodily functions associated with the ECS:

  • Sleep cycles
  • Appetite
  • Inflammatory response
  • Mood
  • Stress response
  • Memory
  • Metabolism

It’s safe to say that endocannabinoid system function is crucial to maintaining balance and well-being throughout daily life. When endocannabinoid levels become dysregulated, these everyday bodily functions tend to take the toll. 

And this is where CBD comes in. Studies have shown that CBD, as well as other cannabinoids, may have the power to influence ECS function and bring it back to baseline.* This means that the cannabinoids you ingest from cannabis plants interact with the existing cannabinoid receptors in the body.

For instance—taking a CBD product, like those from Sunmed, will first introduce cannabidiol into your bloodstream. The CBD then finds its way to your body’s cannabinoid receptors and interacts with your ECS as if it were one of the endocannabinoids your body produces on its own.

How does CBD differ from THC?

The clearest difference between CBD and THC is psychoactivity. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary cannabinoid behind the intoxicating and psychoactive effects associated with the cannabis plant.

From the 2018 Farm Bill onward, CBD production has exploded because it is federally legal when derived from hemp plants. THC’s legal status, however, is still up for debate in some states. Some CBD, like full spectrum CBD, includes trace amounts of THC. The federal standard establishes that the THC content threshold for CBD is 0.3 percent by dry weight, which is nowhere near enough to produce intoxicating psychoactive effects.*

Does CBD have psychoactive properties?

No, CBD does not technically have psychoactive properties; but it’is important to note that CBD may affect certain functions such as sleep, emotional wellness, feelings of stress, cognition, and more.* This is especially true if you have never touched cannabis before, and you can generally expect to feel mellow and relieved.* 

On the other hand, it’s important to consider that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system—which we know plays a hand in mood and cognition. Whether or not CBD technically produces psychoactive effects remains a topic of debate amongst top cannabis reachers. 

But to keep things simple: CBD does not produce intoxicating, psychoactive effects.

Why doesn’t CBD get you high?

The ECS contains two key receptors when it comes to cannabis: CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are distinguished by their roles in the ECS. CB1 receptors are found primarily throughout the brain and central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are more commonly found in your peripheral nervous system—particularly in your immune cells.

These are the receptors that THC and CBD interact with when you ingest cannabinoids. So why does THC produce a high while CBD does not? 

The prevailing evidence indicates that it’s because of the way these two cannabinoids interact with receptors: THC binds with both CB1 and CB2 receptors directly, while CBD is thought to have a lower affinity, or lower interaction, with these receptors.

What are the effects of CBD on the body and mind?

So, we’ve seen how CBD interacts with the ECS and why this might contribute to the lack of an intoxicating high. But what effects does CBD actually produce? 

Our understanding of how the ECS functions help us get a better idea of the effects that CBD may have on the body and the mind. Because the ECS supports key bodily functions and processes like sleep cycles and the stress response, CBD can produce a wide range of benefits through its interactions with the ECS.* 

While CBD is technically non-psychoactive, it does still have the ability to affect your mindset, support feelings of calm, focus, and clarity, as well as full-body balance and well-being.*

Here are a few other potential benefits of CBD to the body and mind:

  • Soothed feelings of tension*
  • Relief from feelings of discomfort*
  • Appetite support*
  • Sleep support*

Do CBD topicals and ingestibles work differently?

Adding CBD to your wellness program can seem a bit daunting—simply because there are so many ways to do so. You can use CBD in the form of topical creams, lotions, tinctures, edible CBD gummies, and much more. 

Topical CBD does work differently from ingestible CBD, mainly because these two types of products bind with different receptors. Topical CBD can work to provide targeted relief, whereas ingestible CBD works to support full-body wellness.

When you ingest CBD, it enters your bloodstream and is, therefore, able to travel more widely throughout the body. As a result, ingestible CBD provides more generalized wellness support.

Does CBD have side effects?

When considering a new addition to your wellness program, you must have a full picture of its effects, including both the benefits and the side effects.

Are there any risks to taking CBD?

Side effects of CBD are rare and generally very mild.*

As with any supplement or wellness product, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider for medical advice if you have concerns about drug interactions. 

Start low and slow to see how your body reacts to CBD. Avoid mixing CBD with prescription medications to lower blood pressure, induce sleep, or inhibit immune activity.

The bottom line

There’s a reason why CBD has become an immensely popular wellness supplement: it works, and with little to no side effects.*

And we all know CBD has a wide array of applications. It’s used to help support sleep, ease feelings of tension, support overall wellness, and much more. With several methods to take it, CBD has become a go-to, all-purpose supplement that makes a great addition to any wellness program—without the high associated with cannabis. 

Here at Sunmed, our CBD products are third-party tested so you can rest assured that you’re getting high-quality wellness products. From full spectrum tinctures to live resin gummies, our line of products is crafted to fit any lifestyle.


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